Grayslake Elementary District 46 and a union representing its teachers have made new contract proposals in an effort to avert a potential strike early next year.
No deal was reached in a roughly four-hour bargaining session Wednesday night. Officials said no further contract talks are scheduled.
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In a document released Thursday, the district is now offering a two-year deal instead of a contract for only the 2012-13 academic season. Teachers still would not receive base salary hikes, but the revised "final" proposal calls for a $1,000 stipend paid to them in the 2013-14 school year if they have not submitted a retirement notice.
While both sides agree on the contract length, said Lake County Federation of Teachers union business agent Jim Pergander, they remain apart on compensation.
Teachers have announced they'll strike Jan. 16 if a new agreement isn't reached. They have been without a contract since July 1.
Under District 46's reworked contract proposal, raises based on longevity and education would not be provided to teachers in either of the two years. Stipends for extracurricular and supervisory duties would be frozen at current levels.
Instructors initially were seeking 3 percent base salary raises in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years. Pergander said the union has dropped the request for hikes in base salary.
However, Pergander said, the teachers are not willing to forego the varying raises based on longevity and education. He said the union's revised proposal calls for those hikes that are due in 2012-13 to be delayed to the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
Pergander said the union wants the 2013-14 increases for longevity and education to occur later than usual in the school season, so there is enough of a gap from the 2012-13 payments in recognition the District 46's fragile financial condition.
"We came down from our last, best offer," Pergander said Thursday. "They (district negotiators) have stressed to us the importance of cash flow this year."
District 46 board President Ray Millington said school officials are trying to balance the needs of taxpayers, students and teachers with the contract offers. He said board members and school attorney Kevin Gordon have been participating in negotiating sessions.
Millington said he's hopeful another meeting between the sides will occur.
"The last thing we want would be a strike," he said. "That wouldn't benefit anybody."
District 46 has changed its offer pertaining to fringe benefits. Instead of a 50 percent reduction, the district would continue making a $6,292 "flex payment" to 138 teachers receiving the money in lieu of medical benefits for two years.
Union members have objected to the district's effort to end 6 percent annual base salary raises over the final four years of employment for teachers who give their retirement notices.
District 46 had wanted to limit retiring teachers to 5 percent annual raises in their final three years of work. Raises in the final years affect pension benefits.
In the district's second final offer released Thursday, instructors who already have submitted retirement notices will continue receiving the 6 percent increase until they leave. Those who file retirement documents by March 1, 2013, would receive 5.75 percent annual raises for their last four years, according to the offer.
Teachers who declare an intent to retire after March 1, 2013, would get 3 percent raises for their final three years.